The surname of NORTHWAY was a habitation name referring to one who lived to the north of the village or town. William Bynorthewey lived at Northway in Widdicombe in the Moor in 1330, and at Whitestone in Devon in the year 1344, Roger Bynorthewey lived at Norway and Ralph Bysouthweye at Southway. They owed their names to the fact that they lived respectively to the north and south of the main road which separates the farms. Local names find their origins in the villages, towns and areas where people were born, or from the land they owned. In the Middle Ages, a man was identified by his place of birth and almost every city, town and village existing in medieval times has originated one or more family names. Anyone leaving his birthplace would be known to new friends and neighbours by the name of his former residence, his birthplace, or the land he owned. Other records of the name include Richard de Northweye who was documented in 1275, County Surrey, and Geoffrey Bynorthweye was recorded in 1280 in County Somerset. Edward Northway of Yorkshire, was recorded in Yorkshire in 1379. Family names are a fashion we have inherited from the times of the Crusades in Europe, when knights identified one another by adding their place of birth to their first or Christian names. With so many knights, this was a very practical step. In the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries the nobles and upper classes, particularly those descended from the knights of the Crusades, recognised the prestige an extra name afforded them, and added the surname to the simple name given to them at birth. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Norway)
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